Our annual analysis of our 4 year’s on the road fulltime

We have now gone past our fourth year of fulltime RVing !!! Wow, time has flown by.  Actually July of 2016 marked 4 years of “living” in a RV but November 2016 marked 4 years actually traveling fulltime. We celebrate the actual traveling part as our full-timing Anniversary but do our budget update on a Jan. thru Dec. basis.

While we researched the possibility of living a fulltime RV lifestyle we found it very helpful looking at what others experienced cost wise while on the road. So we try to pay the favor back by sharing some of our expenses and changing thoughts while on the road in hope it might help others that are researching this way of life.

You will notice there is no real talk of insurance costs,, health or auto listed in the update because they can vary way too much from person to person. Lucky for us we have not experienced high medical costs to this point. But that certainly needs to be taken into consideration.

You should note that the categories we have listed we consider areas that most everyone will have while on the road. But you should think about storage fees, a maintenance fund, License and registration fees, clothing and entertainment, vet bills and pet food if you travel with a pet and the cost of any hobbies you may have. All of these are also way to variable from person to person so we won’t talk much about that in our expenses for this update.

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RV Fuel, First year = $3787 or ($315.58 per month on average)

Second year = $3287 or ($273.91 per month on average)

Third year =  $2908 or ($242.33 per month average) you just have to love the lower fuel costs!!

Fourth year = $2056 or ($171.33 per month). Hmmm, getting lower each year but I think that will change again in 2017 (higher).

 

Jeep Fuel, First year = $2310 or ($192.50 per month on average)

Second year = $2109 or ($175.75 per month on average)

Third year = $1822 or ($151.83 per month on average)

Fourth year (part Jeep & part F150) = $1487.49 ($123.95 per month on average)

 

Food in (groceries), First year = $4420 or ($368.33 per month on average) we budgeted $350

Second year = $4893 or ($407.75 per month on average) we budgeted $350 per month

Third year = $4829 or ($402.41 per month on average) once again we budget $350 per month

Fourth year = $4603 or ($383.58 per month on average) this year for budgeting I raised the budget to $375

 

Eating out,, First year = $2639 or ($219.91 per month on average)

Second year = $2890 or ($240.83 per month on average)

Third year = $2677 or ($223.08 per month on average) we budget $300 per month

Fourth year =  $2707 or (225.58 per month on average) our budget this year was $2950

 

Campground fee’s,, First year = $8515 (1 month at Lazy Days with no campground fees)

Second year = $6487 (3 months at Lazy Days with no campground fees)

Third year = $10,511 (DANG, we need to be better during our 4th year. When we hit the road we set a budget of $25 per day which makes our yearly budget $9125. That makes us $1386 over budget for the year.)

Fourth year = $7753 (well under our $9125 budget. Hey we are $1372 under budget and almost      negated the overage we had last year to the dollar LOL!!)

 

Average cost per night,, First Year = $23.32

Second Year = $17.77

Third year = $28.79

Fourth year = $21.24

All years combined = $23.04 (I guess we can’t complain because this number is still under the $25 budget we set when we hit the road 4 years ago.)

 

Direct TV,, First year = $760

Second year = $1014.89 (We switched to HD plus lost a $10 per month discount we were getting in 2013)

Third year = $1197.27 (We were getting so tired of paying this much for TV that I made a call to Direct TV mid-November and had a chat with them. By the end of the conversation I had our monthly bill dropped from $108 per month to $73 AND kept the same programing for the next 12 months. That will be a savings of $420 for 2016 from our $108 per month cost and should drop our yearly cost to $876. It all adds up.

Fourth year =  $880.59 (Looks like that phone call last year worked out as planned. Still too darn much to watch TV but I think this will be a number we will just have to deal with. The only way I can see it getting any lower is IF we find a spot to hang out for a couple months at a time that has free cable and we can put our account on “vacation mode” if that’s even available. I guess it’s worth checking out).

** NOTE!! If you will not be using your DIRECTV service and would like to temporarily suspend your account, you can do this at no charge by calling us at 1-800-531-5000. You can say “suspend services” at the voice prompt and the automated system can complete your request.

Requirements for putting your service on hold.

  • Zero balance on your bill
  • Customers with only 1 account are allowed a maximum of 2 suspend requests every 12 months
  • Customers with 2 or more accounts are allowed a maximum of 4 suspend requests per account every 12 months
  • Total time with service suspended per 12 month period cannot exceed 6 months
  • The minimum time for an account suspend is 30 days

 

Phone & internet,, First year = $1764

Second year = $1873.80

Third year = $1937.87 (this is another expense that really should be lower and I hate to pay this much for. We took advantage of a special offer Verizon had over a year ago and have a 30GB data plan plus voice and unlimited text and have a Verizon Jetpack for our internet access which we pay a $20 line charge for that makes our total cost per month $161.47.

Fourth year = $1778.63 (I hear Verizon has come out with a few new plans so maybe we need to revisit what they have to offer. We sure would like to trim this back a bit. If we stopped or cut back on the blog we could certainly cut our plan back and I have honestly pondered the idea the last few months).

 

Mail service,, First year = $210

Second year = $200

Third year = $210 (and we will roll about $20 of remaining postage into next year). Next year our base fee will raise from $120 per year plus postage to $150 per year plus postage. If we were wanting to save pennies we could stop a couple magazines we receive and lower the postage cost and just view the magazines on line I bet).

Fourth year = $190

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On the actual spreadsheet we keep for all of our expenses we have columns for storage, Prius Insurance (was in storage the first 3 ½ years on the road but was traded in for a new pickup toad and the Jeep went into storage while we are away from Oregon), pickup maintenance, Jeep registration, Jeep maintenance, Jeep fuel, RV/Jeep insurance, RV registration, RV maintenance, RV fuel, Health Insurance, Propane, Direct TV, Food in, Food out, Phone/Internet, Campground Fee’s, Campground Electric, Misc. Health/laundry, Mail forwarding, RV clubs, Motorhome goodies, Clothing, Entertainment, Household and Other.

You can see why we don’t share the numbers in some of those areas because they are so individual. For example we spent $343 in 2013 on clothing, $564 in 2014, $970 in 2015 (new hiking boots and sandals each) and $855 in 2016 (we each got new tennis shoes to the tune of $110 each) and really didn’t need to spend THAT much. But how can you compare people’s tastes or wants in clothing?

Taking into account ALL of the categories we keep track of (not just what we share) we were considerably over our budget for the year of 2016. The main culprit that caused that was of course buying the pickup. Keep in mind that we sold Diane’s Prius and my Goldwing trike to offset a bunch of the expense but some still came out of pocket. It wasn’t just the cost of the truck, all the upgrades we did after the purchase like getting it ready to tow behind the motorhome, the bed cover, spray on bed liner, new tires, window tint and on and on added up as well.  If it wasn’t for being able to sell the Prius and Trike I doubt we would have spent the money just to have the truck.

However if we just look at all categories that we keep track of (including ones that are not shown in this update) and take the truck purchase out of the picture we were $1155 over budget, not really that bad.

Give me a cooler full of beer and I could spend a day right there

Give me a cooler full of beer and I could spend a day right there.

 

A few comments

1st year comment: We have a washer drier on board our RV so that helps with laundry costs. Even though I didn’t list the cost of soap ECT. Some of the laundry mats are pretty proud of their machines and charge accordingly. Plus they are a hassle in our book.

2nd year comment: No change here either. We would not own a RV without a washer and dryer (while living fulltime in it). But that’s just our personal preference. A lot of people would rather have the added storage space and less weight. We would rather have the freedom to be taking a walk, watching TV, chatting with friends or anything while cloths are washing rather than going to a laundry mat and being tied down. Plus the thought of using machines that have been used for who knows what is not appealing to us.

3rd year comment: Our feelings will never change on this topic. It is so nice to be able to do a load while sitting around home instead of planning time at a laundry mat. And we know what’s been in our machines.

4th year comment: Still wouldn’t be without our washer & drier. Hours not spent at a laundry mat = PRICELESS!! We do however take advantage of laundry mats now and again when convenient to wash large things like blankets.

 

1st year comment: We treat this as a life style and not a vacation. If we treated it like a vacation I’m afraid we would be broke pretty fast and our fulltime RV lifestyle would come to a premature end.

2nd Year comment: No change here. We don’t go,, do things,, every day. We have our share of stay home days. If we are in a place we find interesting for a week we might tour for 3 or 4 days and stay home the rest. But staying home always include walks and bike rides and the occasional social hour. And touring does not always have to cost much money, there are lots of things to do for free.

3rd year comment: We feel we were in vacation mode a lot more than we were the first 2 years and it sure showed expense wise. We had far fewer “kick back at home” days and even though it didn’t bother Diane as much it started to burn me out a little. I couldn’t keep this pace up and enjoy it year after year. But because we spent a lot of time in areas of the country that were filled with National Parks and Monuments it really did make sense to take advantage of it. I think we will slow down a little in year 4.

4th year comment: It seems we slowed the pace down a little compared to 2015 just like we hoped and didn’t have the constant vacation mode feel we had most of 2015. Yet we still saw lots of new country. I think we could slow down even more and still be very happy but I don’t think that will be the plan for 2017.

 

1st year comment: We travel pretty slowly. We feel it allows us to really experience an area while we are there. So our fuel costs may be a little less than those that like to cover a bunch of miles each month. When we hit the road we budgeted 1 tank of fuel in the motor home per month on average and have not gone over that. In fact we are well under that on average.

2nd year comment: We still prefer to travel 100 to 200 miles and spend a week however after leaving Florida we did pick up the pace a little in order to reach Oregon by June for doctor appointments. And we did stay put longer in one spot while visiting family and friends while in Oregon and only moved 5 times between June and October.

3rd year comment: Once again our travel days were pretty short all year. We did have a few more stops that were in the 5 day range rather than a week but miles between the stops were still short, normally well under 200 miles and a number of them under 100 miles. And once again we were well under our yearly motorhome fuel budget. When we hit the road diesel was in the $4 per gallon range so we set a budget of $400 (1 tank per month) and even though prices have dropped we just stick with the $400 number but as you can see we never come close to the $4800 budget number for the year. We really just keep the 1 tank per month in the back of our minds mainly so we don’t fall into the “drive to many miles and in turn right by things of interest” trap. Plus being under budget on fuel builds in a buffer that helps offset the line items we go over budget on like FOOD LOL!! It’s all about the bottom line.

4th year comment: Even though we had our share of short travel days it seems we have turned it up a notch and traveled a few longer days (to us) and far fewer travel days under 100 miles. I think we started to think more about destinations rather than just stopping at any old small town along the way.  At one point this year I told Diane we better put pen to paper and decide what things we want to see in each state so we can focus on that a little more because at the rate we have been traveling over the last 4 years we may not be on the road long enough or have the life span to hit them all LOL!! Even with that statement in mind we stayed under our fuel budget for the year and we even lowered the budget for 2016.

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1st year comment: Just like while living in a house and working you can only spend what you have so budgeting is important unless you are one of the lucky ones with unlimited income,,, we are not LOL. And we only live on the income we have each month. We have made the decision to not touch any of the money we have in investments and to leave them in place for when we want or need to get off of the road.

2nd year comment: No changes here. We still have not touched our investments to support our traveling life style yet.

3rd year comment: Once again we have not touched our investments to support our life style. But we did dip into our savings account to buy our new bikes this year. When we first hit the road we set aside about 2 years living expenses in a saving account separate from our investments as an emergency fund. Up until this year we had not touched it but did this year for the bikes and new tires for the Jeep.

4th year comment: We still have not dipped into our investments to support our life style (the stock market itself does its share of dipping however without any help from us) but again this year we did make a small dint in our savings account to buy the truck.

 

Here are some interesting tid-bits.

 

* The 1st year on the road we stayed at 57 different camping spots.

**   The second year on the road we stayed at 36 different spots. Between being stuck in Florida until April of 2014 and staying in Oregon as long as we did visiting family and friends the number went down some but felt good.

*** Our third year on the road we stayed at 49 different spots and have a feeling we will try to cut this back just a little in 2016.

**** Our 4th year we stayed at 41 different locations. I guess we did stay a few less places than we did in 2015 like we thought but not by much.

 

* The 1st year our shortest stay was 1 night and our longest stay was 17 nights.

**   The second year (not counting our stay at Lazy Days while buying our new coach), our shortest stay was 1 day and our longest was 60 while visiting friends in Oregon.

*** Our third year our shortest stay was 1 day and our longest stay was 30 days.

**** Our 4th year our shortest stay was 2 days and our longest stay was 78. The 78 days is part of our 3 month stay in Casa Grande Arizona. 15 days of our 3 month stay will roll into 2017.

* That makes our average stay in one spot since hitting the road 8 nights. And if we take our extended stay at Lazy Day’s out of the equation our average stay would be even less.

* The 1st year our cheapest stay per night of course was while boon docking at $0 cost and our most expensive was 60.96 while visiting Nashville. And it wasn’t even the nicest park we stayed at (location, location, location).

** The 2nd year our cheapest stays per night were boon docking at a $0 cost (I guess that goes without saying). And our most expensive was $65 in Borrego Springs, Ca. (Our New Year’s treat to ourselves) and the second highest was $51.55 while visiting New Orleans. And once again neither were the nicest place’s we have stayed (location, location, location holds true yet again).

*** The 3rd year of course our cheapest stay per night was boon docking at a $0 cost (We should just stop stating the obvious but we won’t LOL!!). And our most expensive was $73.14 at the Polson Motor Coach Resort in Polson Montana (our 4th of July treat to ourselves). And the second most expensive was $56.23 at the Portal in Moab Utah where we stayed 2 weeks. Both Polson and the Portal were pretty nice spots but still really too much money and we shouldn’t be paying that much.

**** Our 4th year our cheapest stay per night was $0 while boondocking and the most expensive was $65.58 while staying at Tiger Run in Breckenridge Colorado. The second highest was at the Portal in Moab Utah.

 

* 1st year comment: At the end of 12 months our average cost per night was $25.52. We are pretty happy with that I guess. We budget $25 per night. Campground fees in the eastern states are way more expensive than the western states.

** 2nd year comment: The average cost per night of our second year on the road was $17.84. And our overall average cost per night for the 2 years on the road is $20.69. When we first hit the road we set a budget of $25 per night so I guess even though we have certainly been over budget many months our primary goal is to be at or below our budget at the end of each year. And we have so far been able to do that with a mix of boon docking, staying at the average campgrounds and throwing a few resort type spots in for the now and again pampering LOL!!

*** 3rd year comment: Our average cost per night for our third year was $28.79. And the overall average cost per night for 3 years in $23.29. Hmm, I just realized that I elaborated about this above so we won’t repeat ourselves here. But we are happy that after 3 years we are still under the original $25 per night budget we set when first hitting the road.

**** 4th year comment:  Our average cost per night our 4th year was $21.24 and the overall for all 4 years is $23.04.

 

* 1st year comment: We have found state parks to be our favorite places to stay. And they are best mid-week when most everyone has gone.

** 2nd year comment: We still like state parks the best but we have certainly found a couple privately owned parks scattered around that have been very very nice. And we do like a good mix of little or no creature comforts and the more plush parks. If all we did was one or the other I think we would get tired of the life style pretty quickly. Variety is the spice of life they say. And if they don’t we do LOL!!

*** 3rd year comment: We still like a mix of State Parks, boon-docking and private parks. But state parks are still our favorites for the most part. We did find a new admiration for at least a couple larger parks that we stayed at this year by taking advantage of classes they offered and tons of activities and will more than likely keep them in the mix now and again.

**** 4th year comment: It seems we stayed at fewer state parks this year and we only boon-docked 47 days in 2016. Hmm, I wonder what can be read into that.

 

* 1st year comment: Large RV parks with all the bells and whistles mixed in with the park model type structures have been our least favorite places to stay. We just don’t use or need all that stuff. And being mixed in with all the park models takes away from the feel and look we like. We are talking places with 400+ sites with the lap siding type park models (No offence meant to anyone, it’s just not for us). But we have found that we like the more pampered feel now and again of a resort setting. When we first hit the road we just wanted to boondock and live as cheap as we could. But we have decided that variety is a key factor to our happiness.

*** 3rd year comment: We still feel the same way about the really huge parks but have found a couple that are very nice and after moving so often over the last 3 years have started thinking about finding a park with all the amenities to hunker down for longer lengths of time during the winter. In fact we did stay at two parks this year for a month and had a pretty darn good time.

**** 4th year comment: State Parks are still our favorite places to stay but as we mentioned in our 3rd Year Comment we have found an unexpected admiration for a couple larger parks. In fact this year we actually stayed 3 months in one location at a LARGE resort in Arizona during the winter and must admit we enjoyed having a little structure during that time and bonding with people longer than one week at a time was a nice change. Could that grow into longer stretches, maybe. Can we see ourselves settling down in one location again long term, LETS NOT GET CRAZY HERE (just yet)!!!!

 

* 1st year comment: In our 1st year we found our food budget to be the hardest to control

** 2nd year comment: In our 2nd year we continue to find that our food budget is the hardest thing for us to stay within LOL!! It could be that we simply didn’t set a realistic budget from the beginning. Or it could be that Diane buys too many name brand products, or it could be I buy too many expensive snack foods LOL!!

***3rd year comment: That darn food budget is STILL hard to keep in line LOL!! But this year the campground fees were way out of whack and took the number 1 spot on the hardest to control. Staying in campgrounds around National Parks made it hard to find places we wanted to stay at without costing an arm and a leg. Maybe we are just too spoiled and refuse to stay at dumps I guess. But the food budget was over again this year. We are wearing the same sized cloths so we are at least working off all the food we eat LOL!!

**** 4th year comment: Yeah!! This year if we combine our food in and food out budgets we were $140 under budget. This year we were a little over on motorhome maintenance because of a front window blind motor going bad and our HDMI splitter for our entertainment center. It will always be something.

 

*1st year comment: It’s easier to say “follow the weather” than it really is. But within reason,, doable.

** 2nd year comment: No change to this comment. You’re still going to get caught in some rain or a storm now and again but just knowing that overall you can stay in areas with good weather is priceless.

*** 3rd year comment: It’s simply impossible to not get stuck in some sort of bad weather now and again. But in this life style you can sure decrease your chances of being in long stretches of it like being in a sticks & bricks in tornado alley or some place you are sure to get snow for months on end every year.

**** 4th year comment: What can we say, how can you really predict the weather. But we do know we ended up in Arizona to early this year and will maybe postpone getting here by a couple weeks in 2017, assuming we do Arizona again next winter but I’m sure we will.

 

* 1st year comment: we don’t miss all the,, stuff,, we had while living in the house for the most part. Diane does miss working in the yard,,, WHATS WITH THAT!!!

** 2nd year comment: the same holds true now but I certainly do not hear Diane say she misses the yard work as much now.

*** 3rd year comment: we still don’t miss all the stuff but I have picked up a couple new toys along the way, we still need hobbies. But the things now are smaller and cost less.

**** 4th year comment: We still don’t miss all “the stuff” but we are talking more about having a spot for a home base where we can set up a few more things outside while we are there. What does that mean about our long term future fulltime life style, we don’t know. But nothing will change for at least another year I’m sure or at least until we get the northern states under our belts.

 

* 1st year comment: we packed way to many cloths to bring with us.

** 2nd year comment: Even after purging a few times since we have been on the road we STILL have cloths with us that we have never worn. How can that be??

*** 3rd year comment: as amazing as it may sound after 3 years we STILL have cloths that we just don’t wear. But everything we do have fit’s in our closet and drawers so no harm no foul. No clothing is stored in totes in the belly of the coach any longer.

**** 4th year comment: Same as our 3rd year comment.

 

* 1st year comment: we like small town America compared to larger cities.

** 2nd year comment: this is probably even truer after spending some time on the east coast.

*** 3rd year comment: No change, I just don’t like large cities. Diane is more open to them than I am but she is not a huge fan either.  A town of 50,000 to 60,000 people is about the max in size but even smaller is our preference. There are tons of towns out there with populations far less than 50,000 that have everything a person could possibly need in the way of shopping, restaurants, activities and medical care without the craziness of large cities. Life is too short to spend it being pissed off at traffic every day.

**** 4th year comment: Same as our 3rd year comment. The only change might be that the first 3 years we were very content stopping in very small towns with really nothing to offer and I think we have grown a little bored with the extremely small places for the most part. But still have no desire to tour large cities.

 

* 1st year comment: we put too much stuff in storage. Need to purge some.

** 2nd year comment: after our 1st year we condensed down from 2 storage units to one. We probably STILL have too much stuff in storage but we are content with it at this time.

*** 3rd year comment: We still have one storage unit and don’t really see that changing in the near future.  I guess that will change when and if we ever decide to get a winter home and we move stuff to that location.

**** 4th year comment: Same as our 3rd year comment. And we did receive a notice that our storage unit costs will jump about $20 per month for 2017.

 

* 1st year comment: we don’t seem to,, want,, stuff like we used to. We don’t just buy because we can.

** 2nd year comment: Still holds true even though we seemed to loosen our belts a little and not be so tight with our money. For example we bought our new motorhome, we bought the Quad-Copter, we purchased new tire and front windshield covers and we bought our new Keurig coffee maker.

*** 3rd year comment: This year the new bikes come to mind, that sure blew the “not just wanting stuff” statement LOL!!

**** 4th year comment: This year the truck comes to mind but that was partly a comfort thing (with the intention of possibly buying an ATV to toss in the back). Other than the truck the only things we bought were the Instant Pot and the Breville Toaster Oven and a new RC plane. We certainly could have done without the Instant Pot and Toaster Oven (and plane I guess lol!!) but boy have we enjoyed both and use them often so money well spent in our book.

 

* 1st year comment: we meet some great friendly people while traveling. We have met less grumpy people in the year we have been on the road than I would deal with in just one month while I worked. Or maybe we just don’t pay the grumpy people any attention now LOL!!

** 2nd year comment: Still holds true. Most people we meet in campgrounds are like minded and are just trying to enjoy life and are not wound so tight.

*** 3rd year comment: No change here. People in campgrounds for the most part are just out to have a good time whether they are traveling the country or just getting away for the weekend.

**** 4th year comment: Again no change from previous years, we just continue meeting great people along the way and adding to the snowball effect of friends that we bump into along our travels that we have met during our journey. I will say that while living in a house in one location we all tend to run in circles of friends that are like minded and while on the road and meeting people that isn’t always the case, this election year really was what made me think about this. BUT if you are smart and can keep politics, religion and a couple other touchy topics out of conversations OR be willing to just shake your head and keep your trap shut when topics wonder off in the direction of those topics it does not need to be an issue. Of course keeping my trap shut is not my strong suit and I DO like to stir the pot now and again just for fun.

 

* 1st year comment: I wish I had left work sooner instead of waiting around trying to make life easier for others. The world moves on with or without you.

** 2nd year comment: No change of heart here!! I will say that even though I was plagued with thoughts of my old job far longer than I thought I would be once we hit the road, I very seldom think about the place now. And when I do I don’t think my blood pressure rises as far as it used to LOL!!

*** 3rd year comment: What??? I had a job?? Hmmmmm

**** 4th year comment:  I don’t really think about the old job any longer. It’s much better to live in the present and not the past. We started this journey to make memories, if I wanted to live in the past we could have pulled up a rocking chair and sat on our porch the remainder of our lives staring into our back yard just reflecting. I’m not saying we don’t ever think about or bring up the past but really not that much.

 

* 1st year comment: we miss our family and friends but think they are all happy for us.

** 2nd year comment: This still holds true and it was great getting back to Oregon for our visit after being gone for 18 months.

*** 3rd year comment: Of course we still miss the friends we had while living stationary in the sticks & bricks but with social media it really seems like we have never left in certain ways.

**** 4th year comment: All of the comments from previous years still hold true and in fact during our last visit to Oregon everyone was so busy that we hardly had a chance to all get together but with social media we still knew what everyone was pretty much up to. However we did feel a little more “outside the circle”. Maybe we were holding onto the thought of things staying the same a little too much. I know we are not alone with this happening, we have talked with a number of full-timers that feel the same way when they return “home”.

 

** 2nd year comment: If you are a recycler and travel around you could become frustrated with the lack of recycling in some parts of the country. And if one person of the pair is more of a recycler than the other be ready for the possibility of conflicts LOL!!. Diane is the big recycler between us. I will recycle but it needs to be convenient. If a park does not participate in recycling I have no problem tossing stuff in the garbage. Diane however is more inclined to bag things in hope that our next stop may recycle. So if I start finding recyclables hidden I get frustrated which in turn creates tension. It is what it is, I don’t like clutter and Diane wants to save the earth.

*** 3rd year comment: I have actually seen Diane walk to the garbage and recycling area with 2 bags and come home with one just because they didn’t recycle a certain material. If it were me I would have just tossed it in the garbage. I just shake my head and shut up, I’m sure there MIGHT be something I do that she just doesn’t get, MIGHT be I say.

**** 4th year comment: Not much more to say on this topic. I don’t mind recycling if it’s convenient and Diane does not mind packing recyclables around for weeks until we find a spot to drop them off. It’s just a topic we disagree on and deal with on a regular basis and I’m sure always will LOL!!

 

* 1st year comment: I don’t think, no I know that we could only live this life style as long as we stay in motion. Meaning we keep traveling like we have and not staying put in any one spot for extended lengths of time.

** 2nd year comment: I could see us spending a month or maybe even 3 or 4 in one spot during the winter when the nice weather (we consider nice weather as warm) is restricted to the southern states. Or even 2 or 3 months while visiting family and friends back in Oregon. But if we had to stay put any longer than that I’m afraid we couldn’t do it. That feeling might change in the future, who knows.

*** 3rd year comment: This still holds true but we did stay put in one location a couple times this year for 30 days and did just fine. We have even tossed around the idea of maybe 3 months in one spot next winter to test the waters but have not committed to it yet.

**** 4th year comment: We still feel there would be no way we could stay put in one spot long term and live in an RV but we are starting to talk about finding a couple spots around the country ( 2 or maybe 3 in different areas) we can stay put for 2 or 3 months at a time and travel the rest of the year. In fact we DID stay for 3 months this winter in Arizona and didn’t have much trouble but the place had lots of activities. If we had not gotten involved with activities we would have gone bonkers I’m sure.

Another sitting area along the river

Another sitting area along the river

 

We are pretty happy that we really for the most part have stayed within our planned budget since hitting the road. But I’m afraid if we didn’t keep a spreadsheet keeping track of expenses like we do it would be very easy for us to get carried away. It’s a simple tool that keeps us in check and one we didn’t use while still working so it didn’t come naturally.

Before we hit the road while talking or reading about people that had been on the road fulltime for 2, 3, 5, 8 or even more years we thought, how the heck could you do that!! But now that we have been on the road for over 4 years we understand how. Time really does go by quickly and there are so many great things to see and experience that we would have NEVER seen just going on vacations 2 or 3 weeks a year.

And while planning the life style we thought long and hard about being away from friends and being loners while traveling but it is amazing how many new friends you make along the way. And it’s even more amazing at how often you run into the new (traveling) friends in different parts of the country. And it’s a snowball effect, the longer we stay on the road the more and more friends we gather which in turn increase the chances of seeing them where ever we are. We have used the term, it’s a small world, more times over the last 4 years than we ever used it in our previous life style.

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Yep, it’s a pretty darn good life. You can make it as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. You can stay put, live off of solar power in the middle of the desert, eat cheap and stay away from people if you want. OR you can move around all the time, stay in high end resort type RV parks, drink expensive wine and eat steak every night and attend every type of social event known to man. Or do as we have and mix a little of everything in. I’m sure this life style is not for everyone, and we are darn glad it’s not because we would have one heck of a time finding a spot to camp LOL!! All I can say is don’t knock it if you have not tried it.

To put it simply, if you have a desire to fulltime and the means we would certainly recommend giving it a chance. You only live once with no guarantee just how long that will be so you may as well enjoy it.

We hope this format of reporting our year end results isn’t too long and drug out but I find it interesting to read our own thoughts from one year to the next and we hope you do as well.

We are really pretty much an open book so I you have any questions on topics that we might not have covered in our update please feel free to ask and we will try to give any insight we can.

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14 Responses to Our annual analysis of our 4 year’s on the road fulltime

  1. Jim and Barb says:

    Very interesting, thanks for sharing!

  2. homeiscanada says:

    Absolutely wonderful synopsis as always Dave and very kind of you to share. We so very much look forward to this each and every year! Like most was disappointed a while back to read you were trimming back on the blog, but without a shadow of a doubt can more than appreciate how time consuming and becoming a “chore” it can become. So wonderful to see you and Diane enjoying the “highlight of your twilight” so much.

    • Dave & Diane says:

      highlight of your twilight, I like that!! And thanks for the kind words. And ya know, I always look forward to this post because I find it fun and interesting to read what I wrote one year to the next and seeing how our views have “or have not” changed. Even though we live it we sometimes don’t realize that our views change just a little.

  3. Thanks for sharing budget figures. I intend to write up our annual re-cap if I ever get off the Pickleball courts and sit down at the computer. It’s interesting to see that many of your costs were very similar to us.
    Very good post for a wannabee fulltimer to take a look at.

    • Dave & Diane says:

      I know what you mean about the PickleBall courts. Between PickleBall and the RC airfield I found I did most of the writing in the early mornings well before day break and in the late evenings.

  4. Joan Ritten says:

    Great year end recap! The time really does fly by in this lifestyle. That is unless you’re sitting somewhere you don’t want to be. We’re back in our home state of Florida which I find way too crowded. It’s great though that we have the flexibility to be anywhere. Being able to help out family during medical issues is priceless. Enjoy you next year on the road!

  5. colibabas says:

    Great recap Dave. You guys are going to have to show us how you keep the food budget under $400 a month LOL!! 🤔

  6. Joe says:

    Wow Dave! That’s a ton of information that you provided and it’s greatly appreciated! We hope to go full timing in a few years and can’t wait. Thanks again.

  7. Russ says:

    Thank you VERY much for the wonderful update. A ton of excellent information and I will have to re-read sections to get it all.

    We are about a year away from jumping off ourselves and maybe we’ll be able to actually get to meet you guys some day! First beer is on me!

    • Dave & Diane says:

      We are happy you enjoyed it. Good luck during your planning stages. Remember to enjoy this time as well, it’s all part of the experience. It would be fun meeting you guys as well and I will take you up on that first beer LOL!!! The second one is on us.

  8. Ray and Deb Kyle says:

    Great review of 4 years. I noticed that your MCD motor on one of your front window blinds went. Ours is hooped as well for the night shade. Where did you get it fixed and if you don’t mind how much?

    It was nice running into you yesterday. You passed Steve and Dianne on the way out, they did not recognize your new truck! lol Hopefully we will see you guys for a longer chat sometime this next week.

    PS our blog is Kastlejourney.blogspot.com

    • Dave & Diane says:

      It was fun running into you guys again as well. Once we are finished up with the group we are with now we will make it a point to get back over there. This event breaks up after Sunday.
      We bought the replacement motor from Tiffin for $35 I think and then paid a roaming RV tech $125 to do the install. It was something I could have done but it is a 2 person job.

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